Friday, November 23, 2007

Legacy Planning

Making a Difference, After You Are Gone
Author: Barry Page
© copyright 2007

How do you want to be remembered? Do you want to impact the lives of others for years to come? Your legacy can live on forever with proper planning today.

The obituary in the local paper or the epitaph on a burial marker is sadly all we will have to remember many when they pass. But, this does not have to happen to you. Even if you feel you don’t have any assets or that it is too late, there are steps you can take to ensure that you leave a legacy for others.

Most people think that leaving a will, or designating a beneficiary on their retirement account, is all they need to do to safely pass on their assets to their loved ones. While this may be a strategy, it does not maximize the transfer of wealth and there are tax and legal ramifications that should be considered.

If your estate is already worth a substantial amount, then there are precautions you may want to seriously consider while you are still in control. How would you feel if the assets that you spent your entire life building were subject to probate or excessive taxes? Or the house you left your children became a subject for controversy and split the family apart? And, if the taxes levied on your estate consumed the bulk of the assets, would that be prudent?

The first step in planning your legacy involves properly structuring a strategy today. You should first seek legal counsel and determine what it is you would like to achieve. A good CPA should be able to provide tax advice and be utilized as well. However, it is imperative that you choose the advice of licensed professionals that have experience in the areas of estate planning. Ironically, many of today’s so called “financial planners” may actually be the ones you may want to leave off of your legacy planning advisor list.

The most important advisor you can have may have the initials CLU after their name, but most certainly they will merit the representation of one America’s fine mutual life insurance companies. The term mutual is very important because it relates to your mutual ownership in the company. This advisor will also have a fluent understanding of this company’s products and services.

Quite simply, the most prudent financial decision you could ever make today also ensures you can leave a legacy for others. And, it also avoids many of the tax and legal issues that usually follow the passing of a loved one.

Life insurance that is properly structured for a holistic approach to legacy planning ensures your control over your assets today and in history. The dollars you use to purchase whole life insurance from a mutual company today may very well be reused by your family and ancestors to achieve financial success in years to come.

Using this approach, your other assets will be relieved of pressure and be used to enjoy today. Reverse mortgages can be utilized and real estate can be sold. Assets can be used when you want or sold with timing at a premium. Risks are minimized and health care issues no longer demand fear.

You can determine your legacy today. Take care in making your decisions and make them now while you have time.

Barry Page

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